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Kuroko’s Basketball Episode #01 Anime Review

4 min read

A new school is looking to make its mark on the basketball world and an unusual crew of players have signed on to do just that.

What They Say:
While recruiting for the basketball club, the Seirin Private High school has managed to pick up some impressive players; a power house, former American player, and a member of the “Generation of Miracles.”

The Review:
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Having been a huge fan of Slam Dunk and getting into a few other basketball anime series over the years, having a new basketball series this season was definitely a plus.. Particularly since this one by Tadatoshi Fujimaki has been running for the past four years in Weekly Shonen Jump and has amassed some sixteen or so collected volumes yet hadn’t made a name for itself among Western fans. It wasn’t hailed as the next coming or overhyped, which gives it some room to play out with a ton of pre-judging being done on it. Add in that the show is being animated by Production I.G. and I was doubly interested to see what it would do with this group of young guys and their dreams of basketball.

The series deals with a relatively new school that’s still getting its footing out there called Seirein Private High. The beginning of the semester is always a fun point in time as that’s when the clubs go out and look for people to join and the basketball club is no exception, especially since those young men (and woman) involved wanted to make their mark with this new school by winning some upcoming competitions and cementing their position. Getting enough players is always a struggle in these shows and this one is no exception as they have a few to begin with, but are adding more to flesh it out, including one student named Kagami who is already quite tall and spent his middle school years in America where he got to play. Others are coming up through middle school in Japan and some of them have some history to them, such as Kuroko, a player from what’s called a “generation of miracles,” a time when an age group of players truly excelled.

Amusingly, the club is run by Riko, a young woman who truly knows her basketball and can get results and is quite determined to get them. The guys that have come in that are unfamiliar with this are shocked, but when they learn that her father is a sports trainer and she’s grown up with the same super critical eye, she’s key to bringing the right talent out. And we get a good look at that talent right away, both in how she views them and how they play as challenges are issued in the night and a mock game gets played as well. Kagami is definitely a powerhouse and an arrogant player, going so far as to quickly dismiss Kuroko and tell him to quite basketball entirely. But he has the ability to back it up and he pushes against the second years pretty hard, surprising them with what he can do.

In Summary:
With the first episode of the series, we get a pretty good look at the core dynamic of what it wants to do. The general premise is established quickly and effortlessly and we get an array of new players that sign on as first years to join the existing players to try and make it happen. It focuses on just two of the players more than anyone else, but we get nods towards them as they see the potential that’s coming here. Riko as the club manager also gets a good share of time to provide the necessary commentary for non-basketball fans in order to smooth things out a bit. While it deals with character issues for a bit, introductions and all, it also gives us a good bit of basketball as well and that area is really well executed, highlighting weaknesses and strengths that can be well played as it progresses. And it’s well animated at that, making it engaging to watch and leaving you wanting more of the game itself. This series is definitely on my must-watch radar to see where it goes and to enjoy a proper basketball anime series once again.

Grade: B

Streamed By: Crunchyroll

Review Equipment:
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70″ LCoS 1080P HDTV, Dell 10.1 Netbook via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

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